1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing for just about seven years, since I was thirteen. I remember I was in a classroom during a scheduled reading-period, and I’d sifted through all the book-bins for something interesting. They were arranged by reading level, ending in the gold-stickered college bin, and there was nothing very interesting or challenging in any of them. So, in a nutshell, I decided to write something of my own. It should go without saying that the result was abysmal, even for a seminal work scribbled in a pocket notebook. In fact, it took me two more years to become good enough to get published anywhere. But it was, definitely, a start.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
I don’t think I have a lot of special wisdom about writing, so I’ll rephrase an old one: don’t ration your ideas. It’s a mistake to act as though all the plot elements and stories you’ve thought of are the only ones you’re going to have. Trying to save the Good Stuff for later on in your career forms a self-fulfilling prophecy- if you used that idea instead of refrigerating it, you’d be more experienced, and coming up with newer, better ones that you could do more justice.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
Superhero Nation has never steered me wrong on any writing matter, and I think there’s a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from Eliezer Yudkowsky’s “Abridged Guide to Intelligent Characters”.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I like idea-rich speculative fiction, the kind that gets into your brain and really teaches you something about how the world works. Post-singularity, cyberpunk, urban fantasy and science-fantasy are all subgenres close to my heart. I think Neal Stephenson’s one of the best writers alive, and I’ve never seen anyone match the sense of wonder in Hannu Rajaniemi’s debut, but my favorite favorite author is the one who’s had the most influence over me, an obscure fellow named Lawrence Miles.
LM used to write Doctor Who books, and headed a not-quite-spinoff named Faction Paradox, an explanation of which cannot fit in this margin. He wrote the best book I’ve ever read, This Town Will Never Let Us Go, and also penned a magnificent series of radio plays I’ve all-but-memorized, but I’ve always been most inspired by his essays. Plenty of them have been deleted or lost, and I’ve spent years trying to find old caches of his work, because some of it’s absolutely brilliant.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Can’t help you there. I just guilt myself into doing it, or try some productivity techniques like pomodoros. Being almost-20 and a student, I don’t think I have as much to juggle as the next guy.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I write on the fly almost always, because it’s so much more fun. Writing an outline or a summary feels like I’ve already finished the story, and now I’m trudging back through to bulk it up into something more respectable. It takes more patience and willpower, I think. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the longest thing I’ve ever written is a novella.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
Pretty well, I hope. The sting of being rejected fades after a while. It’s finding out if you’ve been rejected that’s the tricky part, and I’m not sure that ever goes away. I used to hide from my computer screen, or take deep melodramatic breaths before I opened my messages, but now I have them routed to my phone so they pop up in the middle of whatever I’m looking at and I have to read them.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
To reinstate myself in the industry, and get some acceptances in paying markets, even if they don’t pay lots. I’ve been really out of the writing loop for two years now, and I’d rather not fall behind again.
9. For the next five years?
To eke out a career at writing. It doesn’t need to be a really great career, given that I intend to be wandering around the world with a backpack and spending next-to-no money, but just a little. Enough that I don’t have to go to WWOOF every time I want to sleep indoors, or that I can replace a netbook when it breaks. Alms to the poor, m’lud.
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
Nah, I’m good.